Accolades are nothing new for Merced College Student of the Year

sjansen@mercedsunstar.comMay 26, 2013 

— The lists of Hannah Glenn's accolades earned as a student at Merced College is long and impressive.

It's a list that includes four scholarships and an internship that took her to Osaka, Japan, last summer.

Despite studying as a double major — registered nursing and international studies — the 22-year-old from Los Banos found the time to serve on six committees, including the Merced College Academic Senate Committee and the MC Curriculum Committee.

Glenn did all this while maintaining a 3.5 grade-point average and obtaining her transfer certificates to both the University of California and California State University systems.

Glenn's list of accolades grew a little longer when she was recently named the Merced College Student of the Year.

"She really has a passion for life and learning," said Merced College counselor Raul Alcala. "I think she will venture to work in an international matter. She's very welcoming to seeing things from a different perspective. She wants to be a person who helps bring social change. I know it sounds corny, but she brings people together."

Glenn, 22, was selected the student of the year from the group of six who were honored as students of the month by the college during this academic year.

She received her second degree from Merced College in December but decided not to go through the ceremony tonight, opting instead to wait until she competes the school's registered nursing program.

Although she's sitting this one out, more than 1,000 of her classmates will be awarded degrees and certificates during the ceremony at 7 p.m. today. Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, will deliver the commencement address.

Glenn grew up in Los Banos and was home-schooled by her mother, Jennifer Guest. Glenn started taking a few classes at Merced College through the Los Banos Campus at the age of 17. She started taking two classes a semester until she graduated high school and became a full-time student in the fall of 2009.

Glenn was also named Student of the Year at Merced College's Los Banos campus in 2011.

Her transition to the classroom setting was made easier because of her time spent working at the New Bethany Residential Care and Skilled Nursing facility in Los Banos.

Glenn started as a volunteer there at age 13, doing everything from planning activities, music, skits and filing. She was hired when she turned 18.

"Working there helped me open up," Glenn said. "I remember one of the first things I did was read newspapers out loud to residents. That was nerve-racking for me at first. By the end of my time working there I was singing and talking in front of groups."

Until this past semester, Glenn commuted by bus from Los Banos to Merced College. She was usually up in the morning by 5 and on her bicycle to the bus stop by 6:20 a.m.

She would arrive on campus in plenty of time for her 8 a.m. class and would stay on campus for classes, study sessions or committee meetings until 5 or 6 p.m.

Her ability to see the big picture was a reason she was such an asset as an Associated Students of Merced College senator.

"I remember we were planning an event and one of the suggestions was a pie eating contest," Alcala said. "Hannah said, 'A pie-eating contest would be fun, but I'm not sure we should be doing something that wastes food when there are people who go hungry in our community. Maybe we should do something else.'

"That shows how she thinks differently. It's very easy to go along with the group, but she was able to stand up in a non-threatening manner and offer a counter proposal. She's good at offering alternate view points."

For Glenn it was about being sensitive to others.

"I think I was raised to appreciate what I have and that helps me be aware of what other people have," she said.

It was Alcala who helped Glenn get an English teaching internship at Osaka University in Osaka, Japan. Glenn spent three weeks there teaching English to children in primary schools and students at the university.

"It was a great learning experience," she said. "We learned how to write tests, presentations and different skills for teaching English."

Glenn just finished her first semester in the registered nursing program. When she completes the program, she wants to transfer to a four-year school to continue working toward her international studies degree.

Her goal is to find a career working for a humanitarian organization or in international education.

"I've really enjoyed my time at Merced College," Glenn said. "I didn't expect to be at the community college this long, but it took a while for the application to go through in the RN program.

"That extra time has opened up more opportunities for me. It's allowed me to get more out my time at Merced College," she said. "I think when people go to a community college they may be looking to fulfill their minimal obligation. They're looking to get in and get out. I had a lot of opportunities to do well and help others. It made my time more meaningful.

"The community college experience has been different for me because I did get involved."

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